Entering his fourth season in the NFL, Joe Walker still remembers the early lessons he was taught as a child playing football.

"The easiest thing you can do is show up early and work," Walker said. "One of the earliest things I learned from this sport is to put in the time."

Walker, a 2011 Palos Verdes High graduate, played at L.A. Harbor College before transferring to the University of Oregon.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but then tore his ACL prior to his rookie season before appearing in 12 games for the Eagles during the 2017 season.

Walker was a part of the Philadelphia Eagles team that won Super Bowl LII before signing a four-year, $36 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals prior to the 2018 season.

Unlike Philadelphia, the Cardinals have had a rough go at postseason success. In the last 20 years, Arizona has made the playoffs three times, even reaching Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.

In the offseason, Arizona went out and grabbed headlines.

They snagged Kliff Kingsbury from USC just days after it was announced he'd become the Trojans head coach, and they drafted Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray No. 1 in the 2019 NFL Draft in April. Kingsbury was Texas Tech's head coach before being relieved of his duties in November.

"Everyone in the building is really excited to get the 2019 campaign underway," Walker said. "The energy is high, and we're looking forward to the season."

Training camp for the 2019 NFL season began Wednesday July 24 for Walker and the Cardinals veteran players. And Arizona's defensive unit will look to improve on its league-worst run defense in 2018.

That's no simple task in the NF L today, but Walker is confident in the Cardinals coaching staff.

"We have a group of smart coaches on defense, and they get us ready and prepared for whatever the week demands," he said.

Preparation for each game begins during the week, and Walker finds himself waking up between 5 and 6 a.m., depending on the day, and going until 5 p.m. at the latest.

Maintaining a healthy body that's able to compete at the sports highest level is no simple task.

"It's all about taking care of the body after getting home from work," Walker said. "Between massages, needling, icing, stretching and extra film, you do whatever the day requires."

Arizona starts its preseason schedule against the L.A. Chargers Aug. 8, and will kick off its regular season schedule Sept. 8 against Detroit. The Cardinals will visit the L.A. Rams in both teams regular season finale.

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